Business Development & Marketing General Turnaround

Email marketing – getting it right

email marketingEmail marketing, that is communicating to potential clients/customers using regular e-newsletters, is one of the oldest-established methods of online marketing.
While recipients often complain about receiving too many of them, they remain one of the most effective components of the marketing mix, with an open rate of 20-30% according to Campaign monitor, a UK and US-based email marketing company.
So why would any business not consider using this method of marketing communication when the Direct Marketing Association has calculated that it has a ROI of up to 4,300%?

It’s not about the numbers and there are rules

This is where the law comes in – and yes there are rules about marketing that are online here. Basically, you MUST check if customers want to be contacted and equally you MUST make it easy for them to opt out, either by sending a STOP text to a short number or by including an “unsubscribe” link clearly shown in the newsletter.

What are the advantages if it’s so easy for people to stop receiving them?

Effective email marketing is about quality, not quantity. It is a mistake to think in terms of large numbers and we advise clients to not buy contact lists. It may be more work but it is far more effective to build your own contact list of people with whom the business has had some dealings and who may be willing to find out more.
A well-crafted communication targeting the right audience prompting interaction and responses from just a few people is worth more than one that is sent out to thousands who don’t open or read it and who then unsubscribe.
In many cases, this will not be about sales but about building an awareness of your business’ brand and personality and establishing a relationship.
Done well, you can talk to recipients as individuals, give them something interesting and new to read and build a loyal “fan” base.  Not only that but you can easily measure what has worked and what has not by how many recipients open the email, make comments and respond to any “call to action”.
But obviously it is important to define the purpose of your communication.
In the new and uncertain post-Brexit economic climate, it makes sense to revitalise your business marketing and to add e-newsletters to the mix, if you don’t already use them. It also makes sense to get professional help with the writing and design to ensure messages are both relevant and capture the readers’ imagination.

Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

Tools to help you get more from online marketing

Often businesses are disappointed by the lack of a return, in terms of measurable actions by viewers, resulting from their activities on social media, email marketing and other online promotion initiatives.
There are many tools to choose from to help a business stand out online but using them is both science and art requiring a lot of detailed experience to get your money’s worth.
Online tools include Google Adwords, Facebook Boost, Facebook Adverts or Twitter Adverts which can be used to promote messages on social media. Others might be using online databases to send out e-newsletters or posting blogs on a website or LinkedIn.
the key elements of using online marketing tools successfullyThe key challenge is to define objectives and know what is the required response to a specific campaign. These can then be measured.
It is therefore important to consider the target audience and their preferred platforms, behaviours and needs and this is where the analytics and insights available on the various platforms which are mainly Google, Facebook and Twitter as the ones being used by SMEs for promotion.
Arguably the most important element is to set the parameters for any campaign which is where social media and databases can be powerful. Like a database, most platforms all allow targeting such as using specific key words or phrases, or excluding certain words, or by defining the target audience for the message and by locating it geographically.
Targeting is particularly crucial when you pay for every click the ad gets. You don’t want someone in York looking at ads for a restaurant in Reading, or in my case job seekers or consultants clicking expensive ads when promoting turnaround services.
Imagine trying to use a keyword like “insurance”. It might get lots of people clicking on the ad and viewing it, but it is such a general word that it is a safe bet that a high percentage will then go elsewhere for something specific to their needs.  At prices between 10p and £10 per click it can be an expensive and useless investment if the targeting isn’t right.
It may be a better investment to get expert help to run a targeted ad campaign.

Are there other, more affordable online options?

For a small business operating within a defined geographic area an example of a more effective and affordable option on Facebook is the post boost. For a defined amount of time, such as two weeks, and minimal cost, around £10, a post from the business page will be shown regularly in more viewers’ news feeds.
This can have a significant impact in terms of the numbers (reach) and on the actions then taken, such as visits to the business page or to its website, or comments or messages to the business. Again, it is important to choose the post to boost wisely.
For example, if there is a new blog or significant piece of news on the company website, it may help to attract more visitors to the site and once there, the business will have an opportunity to encourage viewers to stay if the website is enticing enough.
Another online marketing option is e-newsletters.
These work best if they engage with those receiving them, giving people up to date or extra information or latest news on a product or service.  Again, a snippet with a link to a blog post on a website can encourage visits. Using humour, fascinating facts or other short, extras that engage and amuse people is always helpful.
They can also be used to keep in touch with customers and ask for feedback, perhaps to run a survey.  What they should not do is to blatantly sell, nor blatantly promote the business – avoid “We can …” and above all they should be short and sweet – no more than 450 words – and visually appealing.